Mum saves £120 a month by meal prepping and bulk cooking.
- Andrea Harte began meal prepping in January.
- She now saves £30 a week on food.
- Andrea says paying more attention to cooking has helped her spend just £30 a week on food for three.
If food shopping is the most tiring part of your day and cooking dinner is a very stressful activity for you then it is highly advised that you take a leaf out of this bargain hunting mum’s book.
Andrea Harte, 31, a mum of one, beautician and sports therapist from Plymouth, made a New Year’s resolution to meal plan. This so far has saved her a whopping £30 a week, or £120 a month.
Andrea told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: "I started preparing the meals at the beginning of January. I started doing these meals as my partner and I both work full time so it can be tricky eating healthy meals with limited time.
"I started making things like stew (without the potatoes and gravy, I add that once it’s defrosted), lasagne, spaghetti Bolognese and pasta dishes, and I have also been cooking jacket potatoes and freezing them along with mash. This way I can come home and just reheat a nice meal that I have taken out in the morning to defrost.
"I used to just buy Veg and Chop and freeze to make things easier, but I started following loads of food pages on Instagram and Facebook and came across lots of different ideas.
“I came across a page for batch cooking and I was inspired as a lot of people actually do it.”
Andrea soon began to work batch cooking ideas into her regular cooking schedule and found it easier than she had expected.
"While I was cooking a meal, I cooked a lot more than usual so I could freeze it for a later day,” she explains.
“When cooking, I started adding a lot more veg like grated courgettes, carrots and lentils to bulk up my meals. Lentils are really good to bulk up meals as they absorb the taste of the food you're adding them to.
“Also, when I’m cooking a meal I try to cook more than one to save on gas, so while my lasagne is cooking, I’ll add in some jacket potatoes to save on time and money.
"Since doing this, my food shop has gone down a lot and I have started pricing up my meals to see how much money each meal has cost me so I know how much I can budget to a day.”
Paying more attention to what she’s shopping for and how much it all costs has helped Andrea not just save lots of money at the supermarket, but has also enabled her to feed her family of three for less than £30 a week.
“Meat meals do cost a bit more but I can cook a lasagne meal for as little as £1.45 per person.” she reveals.
"I started shopping online instead of going in store to buy as I won’t be tempted to buy things I don’t need or want just because they are on offer.
"I have saved about £30 a week and can feed all three of us for less than £30 a week on a food shop all because I have planned my meals and only buy the essentials.
"I would definitely recommend batch cooking because I have time to play with my daughter again, I have time to relax and I don’t have to think about what we’re going to have for tea or when we’re going to have our next healthy meal.
“If someone is looking to batch cook, I would recommend cooking in freezer bags and placing kitchen rolls between so they don’t get stuck together and you can separate easily. I use plastic tubs for some meals as I find it easier to reheat.
“A lot of people batch cook different flavoured soups to save time and money, which is a brilliant idea but my family aren’t really soup eaters unless they are poorly.
“I also bulk buy good deals with Veg and Meat as this can go a long way.
“I feel great pride after cooking as I know my family are going to get home-cooked meals that I have already made in advance.”
Mince x 2 = £7.40
Lasagne sauce x 2 = £1.30
Lasagne sheets - already had
Cheese - already had
Made 6 portions = £1.45 per portion
Chorizo and German Salami Pasta
German salami £1
Made 6 portions = 38p per portion
Veg pack £1
Made 6 portions= 68p per portion
Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, comments: “Meal prepping is the latest home cooking trend, and so it should be - it’s healthy, it saves money and it reduces that strong urge to get a takeaway on an exhausting evening after work.
"If you shop around for bulk deals and maybe get an extra freezer to keep all the bargain food in, you’ll save yourself tons of cash in the long run."
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